Thursday, 4 August 2016

Super afternoon at Currie Sands

It seemed like Currie Sands was the place to be last Sunday afternoon as our group of 9 headed out for the INHT rAmble.

Heading down to Currie Sands
It was a mixed bag of weather, being mostly dry with spells of sunshine that brought some butterflies out - you can even see shadows cast in the photo below! Fiona lifted a rock to unearth a little colony of yellow meadow ants, complete with the odd egg, and on the way down we saw lots of different wildflowers (full list at the end).

You never know what you might find...
Some of the plants seen are specially adapted to the seashore, being thick and fleshy so they retain as much moisture as they can, like Sea Holly, Sea Rocket, Sea Plantain and Sea Sandwort. I guess the clue is in the name... ;-)

Sea Holly
Moving off the sands and over the grasslands towards Frenchman's Rocks, different plants were thriving here, including Devil's Bit Scabious which was seen flowering here in abundance - good news for the Marsh Fritillary butterfly whose foodplant it is.

Devil's Bit Scabious
We also spent some time watching the grey seals in the sea below - or was it more like them watching us? A group of 6 seemed to be synchronised in suddenly all diving at once and reappearing to watch us some more. Can you spot them in this photo?

Watching the seals
Let's have a closer look...

Ah there they are!

We saw a few Fox Moth caterpillars around and about too, including this beauty:

And last but not least, a few of us were lucky enough to see an adder slither off through the undergrowth. Quite a haul! Join us for the next rAmble on Sunday 7th August where we'll be looking at what's about at Killinallan. Meet at the road-end gate, east side of Loch Gruinart for 2pm. INHT members £2, non-members £4, family £10. Sorry no dogs

Plants: Sea Sandwort, goose grass, sea bindweed, sea holly, sea rocket, spear-leaved orach (TBC), mayweed, eyebright, bird's foot trefoil, scots lovage, marsh woundwort, silverweed, ragwort, lady's bedstraw, knapweed, thrift, wild thyme, yarrow, red bartsia, red campion, buddleia, hedge woundwort, angelica, creeping buttercup, tufted vetch, cotton grass, sea plantain, grass of parnassus, daisy, bog pimpernel, self heal, pennywort, red clover, tormentil, ling heather, cross-leaved heath, heath spotted orchid, devil's bit scabious, marsh thistle, creeping thistle, spear thistle, ragged robin.

Insects: Yellow meadow ant, grasshopper, common blue butterfly, ringlet butterfly, meadow brown butterfly, fox moth caterpillar, slug, garden snail.

Reptiles: Adder

Birds: Great black back gull, gannet, linnet, pied wagtail, meadow pipit, stonechat (adult and juvenile)


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